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OS Scores Explained NBA Live 15 Overview (PS4)
Pros
Stadiums and crowds are alive and vibrant; Improved player models and likenesses; Greater control responsiveness
Cons
Late game AI strategy is questionable; Lack of online mode and options; Still lacking important contextual animations
Bottom Line
This is what we should've gotten last year. A workable title with some enjoyment to be found for sure.
5.5
out of 10
NBA Live 15 REVIEW

NBA Live 15 Review (PS4)


 
 
Coming off of last year’s less than stellar debut on the PS4 and the Xbox One, the development team behind NBA Live 15 had a lot of work to do in just one development cycle if it planned on competing with the behemoth known as NBA 2K. Even if you set the competition aspect aside, earning the trust back from a fan-base is a difficult path. Although one could see the potential in the Live debut title, it takes more than potential and aspirations to warrant a $60 purchase. The question now is has there been enough improvement for people to start to have faith in the series and developers again? That’s what we are about to find out.

Gameplay

Whenever a sports video game title is associated with an official license, it’s safe to assume that one expects the game to play like its real-life counterpart, unless otherwise noted. In the case of NBA Live 15, that’s a safe assumption. Unfortunately for hardcore fans of the sport, Live 15 falls short of being a true representation of the sport. NBA Live 15 looks the part, and in many cases the on-court sequences play out just like a real life NBA game, but there are issues that hold it back from being a true simulation.

A lot of the issues that Live 15 has are minor, but they do add up over time. Issues that hold the game back include graphical clipping, rebounding animations and execution, as well as CPU lane penetration, blocked shots, and missing contextual animations.

Although the rebounding in Live 15 is improved over last years iteration, there are times where it feels predetermined and disregards user input. Many will also find the amount of 3-pointers made to be problematic, and the free-throw system to be too simplistic.

In terms of lane penetration by the AI, it still seems that if your CPU controlled opponent absolutely wants to find their way to basket -- it will happen, regardless of the defensive effort made by you and your digital teammates. Thankfully the ability to play defense is much improved this year, and the instances of unstoppable lane penetration by the AI is not as common of a problem in Live 15, as it was in Live 14.

Finally let’s talk blocked shots, and the excessive amount in Live 15. Once again, it’s not as big an issue as it was early on in the lifespan of Live 14, but still an issue. In many of the games I have played, I found my team blocks are in double digits, and it seems that Live 15 is coded in a way that it utilizes blocks to help compensate for lack of true interior defense.

Even with the issues mentioned above, the overall feel on the court is solid, and the quality of it needs to be recognized as well. The ability to execute a pick and roll is implemented just as nicely, and while some have issues with the passing system, I found it very responsive and accurate.

Another area where Live shines is in the overall pace, flow and spacing of the game. Obviously if you want to turn it into a run-and-gun type shoot out, you can, but the game rewards you for playing it at a normal tempo, running your offense, and utilizing the talent you have on the court correctly. In regards to spacing, Live 15 gives you plenty of space to navigate the court, and the positioning of players really open up the court. We would also be remiss if we didn’t mention the amount of fouls that are called, and how it truly has a positive effect on in-game decisions and game-flow. Although gameplay sliders were not included with NBA Live 15. Foul sliders can tweaked to your perfect setting. This really has a true impact on the game, and puts the onus on the user, and how aggressive they choose to be. Let’s make this clear, even though there are issues with the gameplay, for the most part it is solid, and in my humble opinion, a lot of fun to play.
 
 
Game Modes

For most offline gamers, the heart and soul of NBA Live 15 is Dynasty, as it gives the user the chance to guide any team through the course of over 30 years, and lets you makes make the most important decisions as the owner, GM, and coach. Want to make a trade to get younger? Do it. Need to sign an impact player to push your team over the edge? Do it. Want to trade a big contract for an aging veteran and some draft picks? Do it. But understand every move you make has its positives and negatives.

While Dynasty has all the essentials, don’t expect any extras. The presentation and layout is simplistic, and takes a no-frills approach. Although EA promised they would work on the sim engine this year, there are still problems with the simulated stats. If you’re a stickler for realism, this mode may provide you a few “huh” moments. Overall, though, Dynasty will give most users exactly what they are looking for.

Rising Star mode in Live 15 is exactly what one would expect it to be. You create a player, participate in the Jordan Take Flight Showcase game, and hope for the best in the NBA Draft. Once drafted, you are thrown right into the season and it plays out like you were playing a standard dynasty mode game. This mode does offer the ability to upgrade your player by accomplishing goals in game. But that's about it.

Aside from the shallowness, and lack of player customization, it’s a fun mode. It’s nice for your budding young superstar not to get penalized for things that are out of your control. This mode is simple and to the point, and offers a certain level of fun depending on your expectations, but it still feels like a mode that needs to be fleshed out.
 
 
Just as Dynasty is designed for the offline single player, Head2head mode was created with the online community in mind. Sadly it’s rather shallow, in the fact that it only offers three ways to play. You have your standard quick match.There's a season mode, which is just 10 games, but offers a "promotion" if you accomplish specific goals. Then there's the best-of-seven series you can play against friends. The one positive we can say about NBA Live 15's online modes is that the servers were stable and provided little to no lag in our experience.
 
 
Other Modes

NBA Rewind is intriguing in the fact that it gives the user a chance to play along with their favorite team as the real-life season progresses. For instance, if you’re a Bulls fan, you can jump on and replay the season opener against the Knicks, where your goal is to win the game. It’s not a deep mode, but is fun, and has a global leader board to gauge how well you are doing against the rest of the community.

Very similar to the NBA Rewind mode, Big Moments gives the user the chance to recreate an important sequence during a given NBA game that has taken place, and puts destiny in your hands. Some moments are real, some are fictitious situations such as beating the Spurs in Game 1 of last year’s NBA Finals without LeBron James in your lineup.
 
 
Live Ultimate Team(LUT)

If you’re familiar with other Ultimate Team modes in FIFA, Madden, or NHL, than you will feel right at home. The game starts you out with a mid-level group of NBA players, and places you in head-to-head games, human vs. CPU games, or community challenges, all with the ability to earn more cards. The mode also allows one to customize your team names, Jerseys, logos, and even your venue.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a seasoned simulation of the NBA game, Live 15 may not be the best option on the market for you. If you’re OK with a fun game that mimics the NBA game, than NBA Live 15 could be the right choice for you. Even the developers have eluded to the fact that this year’s iteration is not a finished product or necessarily reflective of their vision -- it’s not. But there’s an awful lot to enjoy about NBA Live 15. It just comes at a price.

VisualsNBA Live ‘15 is drastic jump from ’14, and more than holds its own compared to other current next-gen games. There are still issues with some player likenesses, but the majority of them look good, with some looking outstanding. The arenas are unique, vibrant and alive, and take a backseat to nobody.

Audio – The crowd sounds are electric and timely, but the commentary needs some work. After a few games we found ourselves tuning them out, rather than them adding to the overall experience. The on-court action sounds authentic, but you may have to adjust a few audio settings to actually hear them.

Controls – Simply put, the Live control scheme and button responsiveness is implemented really well this year. It will take some time for people to adjust to using both analog sticks, but EA has included a tutorial for just that.

OnlineNBA Live is quite shallow when it comes to Online modes. You will find no online team play, online leagues, or online Franchises. The one good aspect of NBA Live online is the server stability, as we had no issues connecting in the time we spent with it.

Score: 5.5 (Average)

NBA Live 15 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 SuperKyle @ 10/31/14 10:42 AM
Competition breeds creativity. I won't play this game, but I'm glad Live is making a comeback.
 
# 2 snc237 @ 10/31/14 10:46 AM
Who would of guessed NHL and NBA live would get the same rating. Problem with live is the gameplay isn't where it should be yet and NHL doesn't have critical game modes. That saying live still has a lot of work to do but seems like they are heading the right way but in my opinion they are 2 years away from being a true competitor to 2k. Here's hoping
 
# 3 sportyguyfl31 @ 10/31/14 11:05 AM
good review. fair, and rational. The game is not "Trash", but isn't "Great" either. It feels like a stepping stone game. Would have been nice if it was done the 1st time around with 14, as that game clearly released well before it was ready.
 
# 4 Mercilus @ 10/31/14 11:14 AM
So people with poor internet or none, would this be good offline?
 
# 5 Rockie_Fresh88 @ 10/31/14 11:45 AM
Very good review. I definitely think the game is a good pick up and very fun. But it's a bit shallow in some areas and I don't know if it's worth $60. But way better than last year at release IMO lol.
 
# 6 Dantecamp21 @ 10/31/14 12:15 PM
I'd give it a 6,75.

The game already feels much better after the first patch. An open jumper with a great release isn't a given anymore. The same goes for a contested shot with a slightly late release, which won't result in an automatic miss. The ambience is amazing with proper arena lightning that accurately mimics every nuance of their real life counterparts (one of the few areas where the other game totally missed the point this year) and their signature sounds and chants. I love the cameras this year as well but we need to see much more ESPN integration next year.

Still, the overall feel of the game needs to be more organic. It shows flashes when the physics engine triggers in the lane. Overall, as a huge fan of the game (as well as the other one) I'm happy with this year's effort and definitely looking forward for even more fine tuning via the next patches (WE NEED A PLAYER EDITOR FUNCTION).

Can't wait for LIVE 16.
 
# 7 scottyp180 @ 10/31/14 12:20 PM
I have only played the demo but I would say that the review score of 5.5 does not reflect the quality of gameplay. If you are some one that has typically enjoyed Live's gameplay over 2k's then you will undoubtedly enjoy this game. It certainly has it's flaws, some being lingering Live issues, but overall the gameplay is fun and enjoyable. I would even argue that their are some aspects that are done betterthan 2k. I love the feel of walking up the court and the ovrerall responsiveness feels good, especislly the feeling of footplanting as I didnt notice or feeling sliding. I don't see the game winning over 2k loyalist but if you play this game without prejudging and without being overly critical then there is certainly fun to be had.

My personal experience with the demo: I have always been a 2k fan over Live but I also give Live a chance each year it is released. I downloaded the demo tuesday night and played a little over a quarter the following morning before work. I didn't quite form an opinion just yet. I was mostly getting use to the controls and getting a feel for the game. I thought not bad, definitely a Live game but I'll play again later now that I have a better idea how to play. So that night my plan was to play just a quarter, maybe a half, then switch over to 2k for comparison sake. I ended up playing an entire game and enjoying my time with it. Now it was a bit too easy as I was able to basically dominate with Lebron without trying, playing on allstar difficulty; however I enjoyed the overall feeling that I was in control. I got stops because I played quality defense and timed blocks and steals. I was able to score because my shot timing was accurate and I could move the ball quickly when a double team came or someone was left open.

I would definitely buy this game if or when it is on sale, I am not in need of owning 2 basketball games, but for those looking for something different than 2k and people who have enjoyed the Live series in the past I would definitely recommend the game.
 
# 8 bigeastbumrush @ 10/31/14 12:37 PM
The review didn't read like 5.5. I read the review first and then saw the score and was surprised.

It is very fair though. You could've been a lot more harsh for all the things which are missing.
 
# 9 MarkcusD @ 10/31/14 12:50 PM
It's a bad game. I want it to be good because of all of 2k's vc bs, but it's not.
 
# 10 esham313 @ 10/31/14 01:17 PM
5.5 is about right. it's a mediocre game at best. Only played the demo. Graphics are better but it plays like a ps2 game. No wonder none of the retailers in my city carried the game. Glad I couldn't find one before I played the demo.
 
# 11 wimp14 @ 10/31/14 02:05 PM
5.5 sounds about right I had the game at a 5 myself. It's just not a good game in my opinion. I was pulling for live maybe 2016.
 
# 12 WTF @ 10/31/14 05:25 PM
Hopefully guys read the review, instead of just looking at the score and passing. This line in particular:

Quote:
Letís make this clear, even though there are issues with the gameplay, for the most part it is solid, and in my humble opinion, a lot of fun to play.
 
# 13 RipCityAndy @ 10/31/14 06:17 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkcusD
It's a bad game. I want it to be good because of all of 2k's vc bs, but it's not.
This is a good review. I like the way you game a brief, detailed summary of all the game modes. Your criticisms were all valid and on point. I think you could have gone a little more in-depth regarding the specifics of the game modes (e.g. NBA Rewind or LUT). Towards the end the review became more of a CliffsNotes summary instead of a review. Ultimately, I think you captured the essence of NBA Live 15 pretty well.

I give you a 5.5/10
 
# 14 RipCityAndy @ 10/31/14 06:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RipCityAndy
This is a good review. I like the way you game a brief, detailed summary of all the game modes. Your criticisms were all valid and on point. I think you could have gone a little more in-depth regarding the specifics of the game modes (e.g. NBA Rewind or LUT). Towards the end the review became more of a CliffsNotes summary instead of a review. Ultimately, I think you captured the essence of NBA Live 15 pretty well.

I give you a 5.5/10
I give my accidental quote fail a 5.5/10 as well.
 
# 15 scottyp180 @ 10/31/14 06:31 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by WTF
Hopefully guys read the review, instead of just looking at the score and passing. This line in particular:
I'd agree with this statement based on my time with the demo. While playing I couldn't help but think that me n my friends would have a blast playing. I understand that there are people disappointed and underwhelmed but in comparison to this series recent history this game is miles better.

it is simply unfair to compare or expect this game to be at the same quality as "the other game". We are talking about one game that has been continually improved over the past 15 years or so and another game that has essentially been rebuilt over the past two years. It would be like expecting a undeveloped 2 year player to play as well as a 15 year allstar. There is an enjoyable and fun game here if the game isn't looked at critically or cynically.
 
# 16 tracyllrkn @ 10/31/14 06:59 PM
How do you get the play visuals to show up in this game?!
 
# 17 WTF @ 10/31/14 07:08 PM
You have to manually call a play. Hold Left, Up or Right on the D-Pad and choose a play. Play art will show if you have the visuals turned on in your settings. It will not show during regular automotion.
 
# 18 tracyllrkn @ 10/31/14 07:32 PM
Auto motion is on, but when I manually call a play, it doesn't show up. Does auto motion have to be off for a manual play's visuals to show up? It's a shame that I have to ask this question.
 
# 19 WTF @ 10/31/14 08:01 PM
No, it should show as long as you have the play art set to on.
 
# 20 RdubYa @ 10/31/14 08:30 PM
I have been on the fence about purchasing this. I already own 2k15, and I really enjoy it - when I can play. Being an offline 2k player mostly I rolled the dice getting it this year thinking they would have at least learned something from the server issues last year. Suffice to say, they did not, and again I am left debating if I even want to commit to trying to play a game, because if the servers are down and I can't play my OFFLINE game I just get angry.

After playing the demo, Live isn't perfect, but perhaps it is passable enough that I can do what I intended from the beginning. Play an offline game and have some fun without having to worry about the status of the servers.
 

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